On the Bowery - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

On the Bowery Reviews

Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 23, 2014
"On the Bowery" offers some of the most indelible faces in an American docudrama, faces ravaged by alcohol and poverty, creased by defeat and self-deception, surrounded by a New York City that does not care. Yet no one on screen asks for pity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
February 16, 2012
On the Bowery runs only 65 minutes, but by the end you can feel skid row in your bones.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
February 3, 2011
Shot on 16mm in black-and-white with a Bolex camera, the results remain stunningly authentic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
January 20, 2011
This landmark documentary disturbs and compels as much today in a new 35mm restoration as it did when it opened in 1956 to both criticism and acclaim.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 24, 2010
As a record of a time and a place in the history of New York, it's essential. As a depiction of men at the bottom of their lives, it has the same sorrowful, accusatory force as a great Depression-era photograph by Dorothea Lange or Walker Evans.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Nicolas Rapold
Wall Street Journal
September 17, 2010
A fine-grained picture of stasis, both on the street and in the faces of lifers shuffling into gin mills and flophouses.
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
September 15, 2010
Rogosin's famous, if underseen, landmark wades into the notorious human ruin as no other film ever did.
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
September 15, 2010
The Bowery's reign as ground zero for drinkers and drifters may be history, but more than a half century later, the film still hits you in the gut like a shot of two-bit hooch.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Bosley Crowther
New York Times
March 20, 2007
This is a temperance lecture on film that makes no new points.